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Ivanhoe Cinema Opens, Starts Matinee Hours

Walterboro’s newly-revamped Ivanhoe Cinemas opened Friday night to what the owner called a “moderate showing.”
North Carolina-based entrepreneur Rob McHone bought the theater earlier this year after the theater’s previous owner, John Stevenson, closed the theater down. The Bank of Walterboro then took ownership of the theater.
Since purchasing it, McHone has already refurbished more than half of the theater, upgrading the screens, the curtains, projectors and sound equipment. He has also upgraded the theater’s concession area and says he has plans to continue the renovation process. “I hope to have the other two theaters open mid-summer,” he said, adding that more upgrades to the theater’s seats will continue throughout the next seven weeks. During that time, McHone says he will also continue to improve the theater’s aesthetics and add more things to the concessions menu.
McHone officially opened the theater on Friday, May 5th.
“It was a moderate showing,” he said, speaking about the number of people who came to see a movie. “The theater wasn’t flooded with people, but I didn’t hear crickets, either,” he said, laughing. “The important thing is that I’ve seen a lot of positive response from the community, and people seem to support the theater being here. It’s important to me that it becomes a viable part of the community here.”
McHone has ties to the Colleton County community, he said and has a history of opening once-closed theaters in small towns. “I have relatives who live here,” he said, in a previous interview with The Colletonian. “It didn’t seem right for this movie theater to sit here empty. It should be used and people should be able to go there in their own community and see a movie.”
Ivanhoe Cinemas closed in 2014 after being open for more than 20 years. The former owner said rising cinema costs forced his hand to close. In late 2014, Walterboro resident Noel Ison began a campaign seeking the support of city officials to buy the theater. Walterboro City Council denied the request to purchase the theater, with officials saying the theater’s operation is best left to the private sector. Since purchasing it, McHone has been working with city officials in his opening process, securing proper permits and meeting city codes. He says he intends to continue turning Ivanhoe into a state-of-the-art theater while keeping prices as low as possible.
Adult tickets cost $7. Youth 12 years of age and younger will be charged $5 per ticket. Seniors who are 62 years old and older will also receive a discounted ticket at the cost of $5. The cinema will open daily at 1 p.m. “I plan to keep bringing in new movies,” he said.

Heather Walters (1098 Posts)